Climate advocates in the US felt like they were on a roller coaster. The effort to pass clean energy legislation seemed doomed after negotiations collapsed. Key senators suddenly announced an agreement on a $369 billion bill that would provide the most climate funding ever seen in the US. According to a political scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, it was the best kept secret in Washington.
The draft bill would ensure that CO 2 emissions would fall by 40% by the year 2030.
The impact of the bill might be overstated by its sponsors. The 40% claim is about on target, according to energy and climate modelers. Subsidies for renewable energy and tax cuts for electric vehicles were plugged into their models. According to two models, if the bill becomes law, greenhouse gas emissions in the US will fall by 40% by the year 2030. 1.5 million jobs will be created and thousands of premature deaths from air pollution will be prevented thanks to the renewable energy subsidies, according to one model.
Marshall Shepherd is an atmospheric scientist at the University of Georgia and former head of the American Meteorological Society. The transition to a renewable energy economy is enhanced by it.
Since 2005, when emissions peaked, the U.S. has been falling due to replacing coal power with wind and solar power, as well as natural gas and light cars. The U.S. contribution to the Paris accord's goal of holding global temperature rise to 1.5C isn't enough to meet President Joe Biden's goal of a 50% to 52% cut in emissions by 2030.
The Build Back Better Act, which would have invested $560 billion in cutting greenhouse gases but died in the Senate, was one of Biden's major efforts. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which is called the Rapid Energy Policy Evaluation and Analysis Toolkit Project, preserves a lot of the bang for clean energy. He thinks the Senate staff did a great job. Subsidies to expand renewable energy and lure consumers to buy electric vehicles, solar panels, and climate friendly home heat pumps are included in the bill.
To evaluate the climate impacts of the legislation, the entire U.S. energy system, from the smallest electric vehicles to nuclear plants, and the proposed policies to see how they impact CO 2 emissions are included. Methane emissions from livestock and nitrous oxide released from fertilized fields are two of the causes of greenhouse warming. Ben King of Rhodium said modelers put everything together to forecast emissions trends.
Rhodium posted estimates on its website after the bill was released. There was a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005. It is an additional drop of 7 to 9 percentage points. The price of natural gas is one of the variables that account for much of the uncertainty.
The pace of technology cost reductions and quirks of human behavior can be hard for models to predict. She says that the models agree that this will bend the trajectory.
The range was narrowed today by Energy Innovation. The bill is just 13 to 17 percentage points below current policies.
Clean electricity tax credits and expanded tax credits for both new and used electric vehicles are the most important factors driving down emissions, according to both analyses. The subsidies will help utilities install more capacity from wind farms and solar panels as they face competition from cheap natural gas. Green electricity generation and transportation are important to reducing emissions.
Investments in technologies that remove carbon from the atmosphere and capture it from fossil fuel plants are included in the proposed bill.
Manchin requested that the bill include some climate-unfriendly provisions. If public lands are opened to renewable energy efforts, there will be more lease sales of offshore oil and gas resources. An extra 50 million tons of oil and gas could be produced from federal lands by the year 2030. Other provisions of the bill would reduce emissions by 24 tons for every additional ton of C0 2 that comes from fossil fuels.
The bill needs to pass the Senate in order for it to return to the House. The bill is expected to be on Biden's desk by mid-August. If we can get this bill over the finish line, the US will be a leader in climate change.
The United States will not be able to meet its Paris goal of a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2030. More federal regulation and state action is needed for that. The Electric Power Research Institute has an energy and climate modeler.
Emily Grubert, a civil engineer and environmental sociologist at the University of Notre Dame, says the ultimate goal is to cut US emissions to zero. The biggest climate investment in a generation is being talked about. I hope not, that's what I can say.Correction, 2 August, 12:40 p.m.An earlier version of this story reversed numbers from the Rhodium Group and Energy Innovation in their estimates of the percentage drops in emissions due to the bill itself.